1975: Big Blue Responds to Datapoint with PALM processor

IBM created the PALM processor in 1973 for use in the IBM 5100 portable.   Reaching back to the 360 mainframe, IBM created a portable version of APL with 64K of RAM.    Consumers would have to wait another 7 years to get their hands on 64K of RAM but scientists and engineers had it in the 5100.  Our 5100 “Property of IBM” is a flawless fully working example.  With a simple “util” command we did a directory listing on our demonstration tape.    Complete with a full set of manuals the 5100 is one of the holy grails of collecting.   A working example so rare several major collections are without one.   The Computer History Museum in Mountain View and Eric Klein’s online collection are both sans 5100.  The powers of the 5100 were so overwhelming at the time that conspiracy theorist John Titor claimed the machine contained hidden translating code derived from an alien intelligence.

Thomas Watson Jr. had stepped down from IBM in 1971 after increasing profits ten fold to 1 billion dollars in that year and the new team at IBM was not about to let the Texas upstarts get a foothold in the small computer business.   Datapoint claimed the 2200 fit in the footprint of an IBM Selectric typewriter but IBM upped its game with a first ever computer portable.

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